SKIN FRICTION IN SHALE: RESULTS OF THE HWY. 81 BRIDGE, YANKTON, SD DRILLED SHAFT LOAD TEST

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1 SKIN FRICTION IN SHALE: RESULTS OF THE HWY. 81 BRIDGE, YANKTON, SD DRILLED SHAFT LOAD TEST Scott M. Mackiewicz, PhD, PE, Kleinfelder, 7802 Barton, Lenexa, Kansas, USA Omar Qudus, PE, Nebraska Department of Roads, Lincoln, NE, USA Jordan Larsen, PE, Nebraska Department of Roads, Lincoln, NE, USA This project includes replacement of the historic vertical-lift span Meridian Bridge (U.S. Highway 81 over the Missouri River) that connects Yankton, South Dakota with rural Cedar County, Nebraska. The new 76-foot wide, 1,590-foot long steel plate girder structure required the use of drilled shaft foundations that extended into the underlying Carlile Shale formation. Designers indicated that an individual drilled shaft capacity of about 2,000 kips will be needed at each of the river piers, and based on the subsurface information, 8 to 10-foot diameter drilled shafts extending to about 115-foot would be required for support of the bridge structure. An Osterberg Load Test was performed on one test shaft to determine the ultimate skin friction and end bearing of the Carlile Shale. This paper describes the design and installation of the load test drilled shaft as well as presents the load test results as compared with predicted design values determined using FHWA methods. Introduction This project includes replacement of the historic vertical-lift span Meridian Bridge (U.S. Highway 81 over the Missouri River) that connects Yankton, South Dakota with rural Cedar County, Nebraska (see Figure 1). The Meridian Highway Bridge was the final link for pioneer travelers who were traveling the 3,100 mile International Meridian Highway from Mexico City, Mexico to Winnipeg, Canada. SITE Figure 1. Site Location Based on the initial design, it appeared that relatively large (8 to 10-foot diameter) and lengthy (about 115-foot) drilled shafts would be required to support the proposed new bridge structure. Consequently, an Osterberg Load Test was performed on a production shaft to better refine the estimated skin friction parameters used for the Carlile Shale and reduce the overall construction cost of the drilled shaft foundation system. This paper describes the design and installation of the load test drilled shaft as well as presents the load test results as compared with predicted design values determined using Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) methods. Existing Bridge Details The Meridian Bridge built in 1924 was the first permanent crossing of the Missouri River. The 1,668-foot long, double decked, steel truss vertical lift bridge was constructed for the cost of $1.1 million. The bridge decks were configured to carry highway traffic on the top chord and rail traffic on the lower chord. However, the bridge was never used for rail traffic and the lower chord was converted to highway traffic in The bridge has kept it original configuration of seven, steel river spans (see Figure 2) and will be used as a pedestrian crossing once the new bridge is completed. Figure 2. Meridian Bridge

2 Proposed Bridge Details The new Discovery Bridge (see Figure 3) will extend from a high, 55-foot terrace at the north bank of the Missouri River (Yankton, SD) to broad Missouri River floodplain on the south (Nebraska) side. The 1,590-foot, 76-foot wide, four lane bridge is being constructed by Jensen Construction of Des Moines, Iowa and is expected to be completed by the end of The cost of the new bridge will be about $24 million. The alignment of the new bridge will be 2 blocks west of the existing bridge as shown in Figure 4. generalized subsurface profile is shown in Figure 5. Figure 5. Generalized Subsurface Profile Figure 3. New Discovery Bridge (artist view) Proposed Alignment Figure 4. Proposed Bridge Alignment Project Geology The project site is located in an area with two distinct geologic histories. The northern approach will be located in a high bluff (50 ft) area that has aeolian loess mantling glacial till and outwash deposits. The south approach will be located within the Missouri River floodplain comprised of silt and sand alluvium. The glacial and alluvial deposits are in turn underlain by the Cretaceous Age, Carlile Shale. The Carlile Shale was encountered at depths of 30 to 55 feet below ground surface and is comprised of gray to dark gray, non-calcareous shale, with some calcareous seams. The Carlile Shale has been known to be bentonitic at lower depths. In general, the Carlile Shale ranges in thickness in this region from 250 to 300 feet. A Groundwater was encountered during our subsurface exploration at depths of about 50 feet on the northern bluff and 6 to 10 feet within the floodplain. Samples of the Carlile Shale were obtained using NX-coring procedures. The core samples were sealed and returned to the laboratory for unconfined compression testing per American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) D2938. The results of the laboratory testing indicated unconfined compressive (UC) strength of the Carlile Shale to range from 2.4 to 16.6 kips per square foot (ksf), dry densities of 124 to 133 pounds per cubic foot (pcf) and moisture contents of 19 to 24 percent. A summary of the UC test results with respect to elevation is shown in Figure 6. Elevation, feet Unconfined Strength, tsf Figure 6. Unconfined Compression Strength vs. Elevation, Carlile Shale

3 Predicted Drilled Shaft Capacities The capacities of the drilled shafts were predicted using the design methodology outlined in the FHWA publication Drilled Shafts: Construction Procedures and Design Methods. The ultimate skin friction of the drilled shafts in shale was estimated using the α method for cohesive materials on samples that had unconfined compression results of less than 10 ksf and using the Intermediate GeoMaterial (IGM) method with an interface friction (concrete/shale) of 30 degrees for remaining samples. It should be noted that none of the shale samples had unconfined compressive strengths great enough to be considered rock. The above noted design methods are described in the FHWA document and will not be covered herein. Based on the above noted design methods, we predicted ultimate skin friction (f max ) values of 0.66 to 2.32 ksf between elevations 1130 and 1100 feet and 1.22 and 6.2 ksf between elevations 1100 to 1065 feet. For design purposes, we used an ultimate skin friction of 1.8 ksf (elev to 1100 feet) and 2.4 ksf for below elevation 1100 feet. It appears that the ultimate skin friction computed for shale defined as cohesive materials are lower than those computed for shale classified as IGM in the zones. The distribution of ultimate skin friction values and provided design values are shown in Figure 7. Based on the FHWA methods, we predicted an ultimate end bearing ranging from 11 to 46 ksf in the Carlile Shale. For design purposes, we used an ultimate end bearing resistance of 42 ksf. Drilled shaft lengths were estimated based on the following parameters for the Carlile Shale: Allowable Side Friction (Factor of Safety = 2.0): Elev. > 1100 ft: 0.9 ksf Elev. < 1100 ft: 1.2 ksf Allowable End Bearing (Factor of Safety = 2.5) Elev. <1100 ft 17 ksf For the working load of 2,000 kips plus the shaft weight and a top of shale elevation of 1130 feet, we estimated that an 10-foot diameter shaft with a 52-foot shale socket or a 8-foot diameter shaft with a 75-foot shale socket (which extended below the borings) would be required to develop the capacity Cohesive IGM 1110 Elevation, feet Provided Ultimate Design Values Ultimate Skin Friction (fmax), ksf Figure 7. Estimated Ultimate f max Values

4 Drilled Shaft Load Test Program The 8-foot diameter, foot, load test drilled shaft was constructed by Jensen Construction between May 23 and June 20, 2007 on the Nebraska side of the project within the Missouri River floodplain. The subsurface conditions at the drilled shaft load test site were comprised of about 32 feet of silty sand/sand underlain by the Carlile Shale. Groundwater was encountered at about 6 feet below the ground surface at the time of the load test shaft construction. Load testing of the drilled shaft was performed by LOADTEST, Inc. The configuration of the test shaft included an O-Cell located at 29.3 feet above the shaft tip and three levels of strain gauges to assess side shear load transfer. The configuration of the test shaft is shown in Figure 9. The drilled shaft was constructed primarily in the wet, using water as the fluid and a steel casing driven to about 35 feet below the existing grade (i.e., shale penetration of about 3 feet). Prior to final cleaning, the sidewalls of the shaft were brushed with a wire cable connected to the auger. After cleaning the base with a clean out bucket, the reinforcing cage and O-cell assembly was inserted into the shaft and temporarily supported. As shown in Figure 8, the reinforcing cage was not kept in alignment and repairs to the cross hole sonic logging tubes and cage had to be performed prior to final placement. Concrete was placed by tremie methods through a 12-inch O.D. pipe into the base of the shaft until the concrete reached the cutoff elevation. Figure 9. Configuration of Load Test Shaft The load was applied to the test shaft using the Quick Load Test Method for Individual Piles (ASTM 1143), holding each successive load increment constant for eight minutes by manually adjusting the O-cell pressure. The data logger recorded the strain gauge readings, LVDT s and other instruments on a 30 second interval. The load test was performed by pressurizing the O-cell to assess the combined end and lower side shear resistance as well as the upper side shear resistance. At a maximum (bi-directional) loading of 4,522 kips the load test was halted due to an increase in the rate of displacement in the upper side shear zone. Figure 8. Reinforcing Cage Placement

5 In order to assess the side shear resistance of the test shaft, loads along the shaft are estimated using the strain gage data and the shaft stiffness (AE). Using this method, the distribution of load along the shaft can be determined for each load increment as shown in Figure 10. Figure 11 presents an equivalent top-loaded load settlement curve. For a top loading of 2,000 kips (working load), the adjusted data indicates that the shaft would settle less than 0.1 inches. At completion of the load testing, the O-cell installed in the shaft was post-grouted since the test shaft was planned to be used as a production shaft. Figure 10. Strain Gage Load Distribution Curves Using the load distribution curves, the net unit shear values for each segment and end bearing can be determined for the maximum loading. As indicated by extrapolation of the load distribution curve, it appears that none of the applied load was transferred to end bearing at the noted displacement. A summary of the average net unit side shear values are presented in Table 1. Table 1. Average Ultimate Skin Resistance Ultimate Load Transfer Zone Elevation (ft) Skin Friction Top of Shaft to to ft 0.1 ksf SG Level 3 SG Level 3 to to ft 2.4 ksf SG Level 2 SG Level 2 to to ft 4.9 ksf O-cell O-cell to SG Level to ft 6.4 ksf SG Level 1 to to ft 5.2 ksf Tip Elevation End Bearing ft No load transferred to tip Figure 11. Equivalent Top Load-Movement Curve Findings The ultimate skin friction measured during load testing was about 30 to 200 percent greater than the provided design values, which were estimated using FHWA methods and the laboratory test results (see Figure 12). Ultimate Skin Friction, ksf elev >1090 ft elev < 1090 ft Estimated Load Test Figure 12. Estimated vs. Load Test f max Values

6 Using the information obtained from the load test program, the final drilled shaft lengths were estimated based on the following parameters for the Carlile Shale: Allowable Side Friction (Factor of Safety = 2.0): Elev. > 1118 ft 0.05 ksf Elev ft: 1.2 ksf Elev. < 1100 ft: 2.45 ksf Allowable End Bearing (Factor of Safety = 2.5) Elev. <1100 ft 17 ksf For the working load of 2,000 kips plus the shaft weight and a top of shale elevation of 1130 feet, we estimated that an 8-foot diameter shaft with a 41-foot shale socket would be required to develop the capacity. As shown in Figure 13, it appears that the skin friction values predicted using the methods outlined for cohesive materials is underestimated in shale and to a lesser degree when classified as an IGM. Conclusions Based on the subsurface information and laboratory test results, the ultimate skin friction values predicted using FHWA methods were 50 to 75 % of measured full scale load testing ultimate skin friction values. Thus, it appears that, in this case, the cost of full scale load testing would be offset by the project cost and time savings. For this load test program, the cost incurred totaled about $200,000 for the shaft construction and load test. Since the improved skin friction values reduced the length of each shaft by an average of 22 feet, we saved the cost of 528 lineal feet of shale socket, which resulted in a foundation cost and time savings totaling about $500,000. Thus, we have demonstrated that the skin friction in shale can sometimes be underpredicted by the FHWA methods and that full scale load testing can provide better design information that, in turn, can be used to reduce project costs. References ASTM D2938, Standard Test Method for Unconfined Compression Strength of Intact Rock Core Specimens. ASTM D1143, Standard Test Method for Piles Under Static Axial Compressive Load, Quick Load Test Method for Individual Piles. O Neill, M.W., and L. Reese, Drilled Shafts: Construction Procedures and Design Methods, Volume I and II, FWWA, Publication No. FHWA-IF Cohesive IGM Elevation, feet Provided Ultimate Design Values Load Test Results Ultimate Skin Friction (fmax), ksf Figure 13. Estimated vs. Load Test f max Values

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